Norepinephrine triggers Ca2+-dependent exocytosis of 5-hydroxytryptamine from rat pinealocytes in culture

Hiroshi Yamada, Mitsuko Hayashi, Shunsuke Uehara, Mika Kinoshita, Akiko Muroyama, Masami Watanabe, Koji Takei, Yoshinori Moriyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


5-Hydroxytraptamine (5-HT) is a precursor and a putative modulator for melatonin synthesis in mammalian pinealocytes. 5-HT is present in organelles distinct from L-glutamate containing synaptic-like microvesicles as well as in the cytoplasm of pinealocytes, and is secreted upon stimulation by norepinephrine (NE) to enhance serotonin N-acetyltransferase activity via the 5-HT2 receptor. However, the mechanism underlying the secretion of 5-HT from pinealocytes is unknown. In this study, we show that NE-evoked release of 5-HT is largely dependent on Ca2+ in rat pinealocytes in culture. Omission of Ca2+ from the medium and incubation of pineal cells with EGTA-tetraacetoxymethyl-ester inhibited by 59 and 97% the NE-evoked 5-HT release, respectively. Phenylephrine also triggered the Ca2+-dependent release of 5-HT, which was blocked by phentolamine, an α antagonist, but not by propranolol, a β antagonist. Botulinum neurotoxin type E cleaved 25 kDa synaptosomal-associated protein and inhibited by 50% of the NE-evoked 5-HT release. Bafilomycin Al, an inhibitor of vacuolar H+-ATPase, and reserpine and tetrabenazine, inhibitors of vesicular monoamine transporter, all decreased the storage of vesicular 5-HT followed by inhibition of the NE-evoked 5-HT release. Agents that trigger L-glutamte exocytosis such as acetylcholine did not trigger any Ca2+-dependent 5-HT release. Vice versa neither NE nor phenylephrine caused synaptic-like microvesicle-mediated L-glutamate exocytosis. These results indicated that upon stimulation of a adrenoceptors pinealocytes secrete 5-HT through a Ca2+-dependent exocytotic mechanism, which is distinct from the exocytosis of synaptic-like microvesicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-540
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin)
  • Dense-cored vesicles
  • Exocytosis
  • Melatonin
  • Synaptic-like microvesicle
  • Vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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